BMT In Tekong

I was enlisted 27 December 1979. I was sent to Pulau Tekong for my BMT. I was in Bravo Company Plt 5 Section 4. I have personally experienced strange events whilst there. I will share them with you.

1. Thursday Night

No training was allowed on Thursday night. Guard duty on these nights was not performed by recruits. The guards looked like reservists with long hair and faded uniforms – old birds! Interestingly, at least one of them carried an M-16 with a sharp shooter scope attached to the carrier handle. Dogs barked incessantly and howled during these nights.

On one of these nights, I was woken up by something bumping into the bottom of my bed. It was a dog. My first instinct was to pull out my rifle cleaning rod and stick it under the bed to try and chase the dog out. It ran down the middle of the bunk and out. I ran after it and found that it had stopped in the open area between the bunks. It stared back at me unmoving, and I felt the hairs on my neck crawl. I waved the cleaning rod at the dog, then backed up and into the bunk and back to my bed. The dog did not follow me in.

On another Thursday, we were all in the cookhouse for dinner when we heard the sound of soldiers running in time. It was an unusual sight as we watched the entire company with weapons at high port, including the PCs, Plt Sgts and corporals, all at double time. We later found out that the company had been at the 300m range and as usual were running late. It suddenly dawned on the OC that they would be returning back to camp after dark if they finished the range and that it was Thursday night. He ordered the men to stop any further shooting and to pack up and load the 3 tonners. Then he remembered that there was no transport back. He then ordered everyone to stop packing, fall in with their personal equipment and return back to camp at double time. The other officers and the NCOs were not too happy with that, until the OC shouted at them and said that unless they got back to camp before dark they would be in trouble. When the men still looked unhappy he said “Gentlemen, what day is it today?”

Immediately, the officers and the NCOs yelled at the men to fall in and double time back to camp. They just made it.

2. The soldier in the mirror

One night I was up late preparing for the inter company drill competition. After finishing up, I sneaked out to take a shower (it was after lights out).

The toilets are in a separate building between the main bunks. The showers are at the far wall directly opposite the entrance to the toilet, and the wash basins are on the walls to each side, and the toilets themselves are facing the showers, so the back of the toilets are essentially a wall blocking a direct view to the showers. To enter you had to walk into the toilet, turn right or left and go round the back wall of the toilet stalls, passing the wash basins.

As I entered the toilet and turned to the right, I could see the wash basins. In the mirror above one of the basins, I could clearly see a soldier, his face reflected in the mirror. I could not see him however, as he was hidden by the toilet stall wall. I thought at first it was one of the prowler guards who had stepped into the toilet for a break. The toilet was dark (lights out remember) yet I could clearly see the soldier as he adjusted the strap of his helmet. Not wanting to get hauled up for breaking lights out, I turned around and snuck back to my bunk, and pretended to be asleep.

As I lay there, I heard the prowlers come walking past the bunk, but not from the direction of the toilet. They were coming from the opposite side. They walked past the bunk and the toilet and continued on to the generator station at the end of the bunk.

It was then that I realised that the soldier I had seen in the toilet was NOT one of the prowlers. To this day I have no idea who it was but I know for sure it was not one of my buddies.

One more note: many people have said that all this started happening after a recruit went missing during a route march and was found dead the next day. Unfortunately that is not quite true; that happened in 1983, long after I had completed my BMT in 1980. The Thursday night training restriction was in place long before that.

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